The mythical Dragon Tree at Brighstone has been voted into third place in the Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year competition in England.
The winner was the Allerton Oak in Liverpool, with the Colchester Castle Sycamore a close second.
The monstrous oak is truly a sight to behold. One massive limb forms a bridge over the Buddle Brook below, which used to power the nearby Brighstone mill until it closed in the 1960s. It’s thought the oak took its unique shape after it was blown down in a storm, but, still supported by its existing branches, managed to re-root.
Local legend however holds that the tree was once a dragon that terrorised locals. A knight, recently returned from the crusades, fought the beast. When he struck the fatal blow, the dragon turned to wood and laid down roots, becoming the tree that forms such an integral part of the local landscape.
As second runner up the Dragon Tree is eligible for a £500 care grant that might be spent on works to benefit the tree’s health, signage, or a community celebration.
Adam Cormack, Head of Campaigning, at the Woodland Trust said:
“Taking third place in a national competition for the nation’s favourite tree is a real achievement. The Dragon Tree is a very special tree and people of the Isle of Wight, and indeed anyone else that voted for the tree, can rightfully be proud that they’ve helped to put one of the nation’s best trees on the map.”
Award winning horticulturalist and TV personality David Domoney who has been supporting the competition throughout said:
“Working with The Woodland Trust on its Tree of the Year campaign is a real pleasure. The entrants this year have been outstanding and illustrate perfectly the unique nature of our native trees. The Allerton Oak from Liverpool is a worthy winner, from its historical links to the Domesday book, to the local legends of how the crack in its side appeared. I wish the tree the best of luck as it enters the European Tree of the Year competition. Please vote for the British tree.”
The competition is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. The winning Tree of the Year is eligible for a £1000 Tree Care Award aimed at protecting, supporting and celebrating a better future for the tree. The trees that placed second to sixth in England will each be eligible for a £500 Tree Care Award.